After last week’s anguished reveal, Legion slipped out of itself this week to explore alternate realities. The result is elegant and elegiac, beautiful and painful to watch. As David plumbs other timelines, we see how he and Amy shape each other’s lives and deaths. We see their choices ripple out across the multiverse, tracing branching paths across the fabric of the universe, a trail few minds can imagine and fewer can follow. There are Davids standing astride their worlds, crumpling beneath them, or coasting somewhere between. We see what might have been, or what could have been, or what is being elsewhere, each reality daisy chained to the next via auditory and visual cues every David seems to perceive. Unstuck in time, we see the background noise of David’s mind, the multitudinous chatter of a million forking realities.
In any reality where David is not utterly alone, there is one constant: Amy. When she’s absent, David deteriorates, turning anxious and unstable. In at least one reality he winds up on the streets, his illness untreated and his powers unrecognized, with fatal consequences. In another he delivers twitchy, rambling exposition to a mystified fellow tweaker whose seat might as well be on the other side of the fourth wall. In a third David toils in the bowels of the IRS, sniffing Liquid Paper and hallucinating entertainment from the local mice.
Without Amy, there is no one to ground David. It is Amy who drives him to work and reminds him to take his medication and nurses him after he slips into catatonia. It is Amy who sticks with him at his most strange and frightening, who puts on a brave face for whatever unknowable unknowns simmer and seethe in her baby brother’s mind. Amy loves David as well as she knows how, and David, recognizing that love as profound and genuine, trusts her. In every reality where she is present in his adult life – even the one where their bond festers – they protect each other.
At least, they try.
In every reality David and Amy share, there is another constant: Their relationship always culminates in tragedy. Some of these are violent (like last week’s attack or dairy-David’s death). Others are quieter, as when they approach the ends of their lives without ever having really lived, locked by affection and need into each other’s narrow orbits. Often David’s powers and illness (literally or figuratively) consume Amy’s life. When David’s bio-dad deposited him with the Hallers, he mired two innocents in a heartbreaking zero-sum game: There only seems to be enough happiness or life in the universe for one of them. Either Amy must suppress David’s powers and illness enough to lead her own life, or David must embrace his mutant life at the expense of Amy’s. Each’s refusal to abandon the other dooms both to terrible loss.
Before Chapter 13, the show’s timeline seemed like the best of all possible worlds for both siblings. Amy married a nice man and settled into the pleasant ordinariness of suburban life. David got help for his illness (Clockworks) and his powers (Summerland) and even found romance. Given how the other timelines turned out, the show’s timeline was too good to be true. So now the zero-sum game has caught up with them: Amy is lost, and the suddenness and horror of her death has David riffling realities like pages in a Choose Your Own Adventure book. He’s groping for a reality in which they can both be okay together, as though there are realities in which that is possible. In his desperation David has lost sight of everything that is not Amy.
This is almost certainly Farouk’s plan. Crises drive David to discover new powers, with unforeseen and often destructive consequences. And the question is not how far David is willing to go to get Amy back; it’s how far he can go. Now that he’s flicking through realities like a decorator viewing color swatches, David’s probably about to do some repainting. That montage of Season 1 at the end wasn’t a “Last week, on Legion….” It was a farewell to a reality that is about to have not existed. David will pull them into a different timeline, quite possibly one in which Farouk is victorious – if not over him, then over his father. It remains to be seen whether he or anyone else will retain any memory of the timeline we’ve been following for the past season and a half.
Chapter 14 is ostensibly about how our choices flower into entirely new worlds, but it’s also about how others’ choices shape our own lives. Amy chooses to look after her brother, her efforts as valiant as they are doomed. David may choose to privilege Amy’s survival over Syd’s love or Farouk’s defeat. But these limited options were themselves circumscribed by David’s biological father, whose own choices have locked a new generation and at least one reality in a loop of tragedy and revenge. David, Amy, Lenny, Clark, the Mi-Go monks, even Farouk are all collateral damage in the service of actions David’s bio-dad has yet to explain or defend. It may be his absence is the cowardice of a man refusing to face the horror he unleashed.
- “Why can’t you have what everyone else has? A nice home, a family….”
“Because I’m sick.”
- “You’re wearing two bathrobes and you’re listening to jungle sounds.”
- “I’m not six.”
“So you don’t want ice cream.”
“I didn’t say that.”
- “Money is a tool, you see, nothing more. Power. Because without power, who would listen?”
- “She resents me. I like that.”
- “Harvey is screwing his masseuse.”
“So? You’re screwing her too.”
- “You decide what is real and what is not. Your will.”
ODDS & ENDS
- Season 2’ run has been extended to an 11th episode, which will air on June 12th. You can’t contain weirdness of this magnitude. Thanks to Geekade’s own This Week’s Episode for the tip, and follow them for all your pop culture news needs!
- The vehicles and clothing in the alternate realities looks more contemporary and familiar than those in the show timeline. In a word, they look more real.
- I thought the voices in David’s head were telepathic echoes, but apparently some percentage of them are other realities, perhaps other Davids.
- We never learn what Billionaire David’s goal is. I wonder if the show will return to what he wants to do with all that power and money.
- IRS David sniffs Liquid Paper, which is one of the drugs Lenny asked Clark to provide last week.
- David seems impossibly happy and well-adjusted in the family and physics professor timelines. Maybe he doesn’t have his powers in those?
- This week’s Davids:
- Coffee boy turned billionaire
- Untreated and homeless
- Dairy worker
- IRS employee
- Married with kids
- Physics professor
- Catatonic (possibly an alternate outcome for the Dairy or IRS timelines)
FAN THEORIES, OR WHAT THE HELL I THINK IS GOING ON
- David’s going to pull everyone into another reality next week – and we may discover that this was never the prime timeline to begin with.
- Each David wears a different palette, but there’s always at least a touch of yellow. Mustard yellow predominates David’s most explosive incarnation.
- The vapor in Billionaire David’s timeline is red. Presumably it is always red.
- Syd’s absence shows in the distinct lack of orange.
- New theory about green and blue: Green is the color of ordinary (non-mutant civilian) life. Blue is the color of institutions, hence the predominance of blue at D3 HQ.
- S1 David tended to be wearing gray when he lost control. Coffee boy/Billionaire David wears gray; while he seems to be in control of his powers he seems to allow Farouk some control over his choices.
- Whatever it is, Farouk’s plan is some Xanatos-gambit level shit, y’all.